Tina Turner had it right when she wrote, “We don’t need another hero…” but that’s the extent of my agreement with her. The lyrics go badly wrong, from that point on. She goes on to say that ‘we don’t need to know the way home’.
Truth is, we really don’t need another hero. We don’t need another great name to pledge our allegiance to. Most of us have idolized enough great men or women and, in the process, some of us have become disillusioned when we discovered they were imperfect after all.
There is something within us, as humans, that tempts us to look to other humans who have attained, or seem to have attained, a level of perfection that we long for. We see them, and it gives us hope–even if only an illusion–that there is potential for us to attain that level of holiness, popularity, wealth, or some other greatness that appeals to us. We reach constantly for that ‘something’ that we perceive to be the answer to our own emptiness.
Not only do we become disillusioned when these great men and women prove to be less than we believed them to be, but we also become discouraged when we discover we are not able to achieve that ‘standard’. We lose trust in our ‘idols’ and confidence in ourselves, and as our hope fades we slip into despair.
That ‘something’ within us, that longs for perfection, is not a bad thing. We were, after all, created for perfection. We were created to run about, carefree and naked, without the cares and troubles that sin–and more specifically, the knowledge of good and evil–have introduced us to. We were not created to carry the burden of knowing good or evil. We were only supposed to know God intimately, without the ‘stuff’ of life, and these struggles imposed on us by the sin we chose.
We can only long for that which we have either experienced, or were created for, just as we can only hunger for food that we have tasted, or crave that which our body was designed for and is lacking. In that way the desire to attain perfection is our inner spirit crying for what should have been ours.
But we forget that what we lost through sin, cannot be restored through the same effort that brought sin on us in the first place. It was independent determination that got us into this mess, but it won’t get us out. We cannot undo what Adam and Eve chose in the Garden–and what we choose continually–to indulge in good and evil, rather than pursuing the heart of God, and knowing Him intimately. To try to redeem ourselves through independent determination, in an attempt to make ourselves good, whole and accepted, will land us in the same alienation from God.
But we chase after idols and reach constantly for another hero–someone to rescue us from ourselves and our emptiness. Really, though, we don’t need another hero. We just need to know the One Hero who was perfect. The One who not only knows the way home, but is the Way home. The One who already paid for our imperfections, making us perfect through His death and suffering.
The answer was uncomplicated in the Garden–trust God and walk in obedience–and it is uncomplicated now–accept Jesus as the only way to be restored, whole and accepted by the God we defied.
What if we stopped looking for heroes, and allowed Jesus to live through us? What if we were like Him, each of us, a hero willing to suffer, willing to lay down self, willing to sacrifice, willing to fight to the death for others? Would it not transform us? Transform our world?
© Trudy Metzger
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